O! Swistle! I have a passel of kids, and I am totally strapped for stocking-stuffer ideas. The kids are Boy, 12, and Girls, 10 (steps, not twins) and I am looking for non-lame small things to give to them. These are the Kids Who Have Everything, so it's kind of tough to come up with things that won't get kicked under the bed and forgotten by Epiphany. Not having my own blog, I humbly request the help of you and your internets.
My stocking stuffer strategy is to buy stocking stuff all year long. I'm always seeing crappy little toys on 75% off, so I buy them when I see them and put them in the closet. The best finds come from the party supply section, where I'll often find crappy little toys in 75%-off 6-packs.
As it gets closer to the holiday, I start on food. I sometimes find individual snack packs marked down: after Halloween I got a 20-pack of chips at 50% off, and last month I found Raisinets, Combos, Twizzlers, and gummy bears all in individual packs at 50-75% off. I don't, like, QUEST for such things, but if I see them while shopping I think, "Oh! Maybe for stockings?"
But! I go for flash and short-term and cheap thrills in the stockings, and also my kids are mostly younger than yours, and also we are a little late for all year long at this point. So let's see if we can come up with some workable ideas. (Here's last year's post on stockings, which was more focused on little-kid stuff but the comments section might be useful.)
Normally I would think of DVDs and CDs as gifts rather than stocking stuffers, but sometimes you can find them pretty cheap, and they do make more lasting items than the 6-packs of party trinkets. Is there any TV show they all like? You could get a season and put one disc in each stocking. Do they like similar music and are they good at sharing? Then one CD each is almost like three CDs each.
The shipping on this set of wire puzzles makes me clench my teeth, but if you could find something similar locally you could split the pack up among the stockings.
My kids always want the interesting hand soaps (like the one that puts "squid ink" on your hand), and I'm always saying no. They also want certain fruit scented shampoos I think smell icky, and I'm always getting the ones I find more tolerable. Both items make good stocking stuffers.
Are there snacks/treats they want that you won't get for reasons such as price or nutrition? Perfect for stockings.
A pair of gloves is practical and also kind of fun if they're in fun colors or patterns. Scarfs and hats, same thing. The Children's Place has nice gloves/scarfs/hats for $5 each. I mean, times 3 that adds up, but if they need them anyway it can come out of the clothing budget rather than the holiday budget.
Oh, and cute socks! Well, maybe the boy will not appreciate those. But the girls might.
One Christmas ornament each. This is a fun holiday tradition anyway. This year I got my kids initial ornaments at Target: there are silver cursive ones for about $7 each, which I got them a few years ago, but this year I got them some brightly colored plastic ones that were $4 each. I write the year on the ornaments with a permanent marker.
Paperback book. If they all like the same series, you can buy a set and split it up.
At a local craft store I found a TON of good stocking stuff: little $1 kits that make a Christmas ornament, clearance beads, fun craft supplies.
My older two have been dying for this Fifteen puzzle but there was no way I wanted to spend $10 on it, even though it IS super retro cute. But when I was looking for it for this post I found it was marked down to $5 and I bought two of them instantly.
New toothbrush. Not exciting, but fills the stocking and is useful.
More ideas for Brooke?